Fusion music at its best

Fusion music at its best

When it comes to fusion music, the men behind the collaborative project ‘Mahaphon Clang’ – comprising of German contemporary jazz band ‘Lautstark!4’ and Indian percussionist Ramesh Shotham – are hard to forget. 

With Jan Friedrich Kurth on vocals, Lutz Adrian Streun on tenor saxophone and bass clarinet, Demian Kappenstein on drums, Matthias Kurth on electric guitar and Ramesh Shotham on percussion, the makers of what they call ‘multifolkloral urban improvised music’ performed an intimate set at BFlat recently.

Instead of the usual set-list, they presented ‘Music of the Moment’, where everything was improvised and none of the songs had a name owing to the nature of performance. “The songs are named only after the song, if at all. Otherwise we just call it Clang 1, Clang 2 and so on,” informs drummer Demian. 

The band’s influence ranged from free jazz and funk to ‘avant garde’ and Tamil pop, leading to an eclectic performance that most members of the audience had never witnessed before.

 What enhanced the experience further was the use of interesting samples, unexpected jugalbandis between the two percussionists and Carnatic vocals by the German man in a red jumpsuit!  

“It’s great being with these guys on the road. They’re my son’s age but I’m proud to be playing with them. I hope that this tour inspires us to create a new album,” said Ramesh Stotham, whose energetic beats had the tempo going the whole night.

The unique concert was full of spontaneity and won the performers several new fans in the audience.

 “They’re very good and different from anything I’ve seen or heard before. It was very refreshing to see such a concert and it was modern jazz at its best. These guys really know their music,” said Aripsha, an audience member.

Kicha, another member of the crowd, said, “It’s unlike what I expected from this gig. I came here hoping to hear something new and this more than exceeded my expectations. It’s great to watch fusion of this quality.”

The band also had an equally enjoyable time playing for the music lovers in the crowd. “We formed our quartet in 2005 but in 2010, we asked Ramesh to join us because not only is he brilliant but gets our vibe too. This gig was great for us because the place was extraordinarily lovely and the audience actually concentrated on the music and listened with open ears,” said vocalist Jan Friedrich Kurth.

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